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Friday, January 25, 2013

Gothic Avenue Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park

December 1, 2012

What: Gothic Avenue Tour, Winter Saturday only tour, $11/person

Where: Mammoth Cave National Park, 100 miles south of Louisville, KY

Trail: Ranger-led oil lamp tour. The tour started at the historic entrance which took us down a flight of stairs to a gated door. Once inside, we followed a well trodden path down into the heart of Gothic Avenue. Though the entrance area had a 5 foot tall opening, the rest of the cave opened up. Mammoth Cave, true to its name, proved to be very large with 20+ ft ceilings and rooms so wide they used to hold church sermons and wedding ceremonies. The passageway through the cave was well maintained with sections of dusty cave floors, wooden walkways/stairs, and cement trails. The lamp tour ended after we visited the Giant's coffin and the area where patients with tuberculosis lived for a year in 1839. Our ranger then turned on the lights for the last part of the tour which comprised of viewing "historical graffiti," rock monuments, and the bridal altar. Note* The cave was cold so be prepared for 50 degree F temps for 2-3 hours.

Pros: Large area, limited number of people on tour, see historical areas of the cave

Cons: Bad ranger tour guide (complained about Kentucky who wanted to get away from the caves and go out west), no interesting geological features

Nearby AttractionsAbraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, Bourbon Heritage Museum, Maker's Mark Distillery


Historical Entrance into Gothic Avenue

Historical Entrance into Gothic Avenue


Looking back at Historical Entrance

Getting into Gothic Avenue, cemented walkway

Oil lamps in hand, viewing salt mines

Salt mines when the lights were turned on

Salt mines in Gothic Avenue

Graffiti in the cave

Tuberculosis hut/office from 1839 by Dr. John Croghan

Oil lamp in Mammoth Cave's Gothic Avenue tour

Walkway in Gothic Avenue

Cave wall

M and his lamp

We put our lamps away and the lit section of the tour. Ranger talking to us about the graffiti on the ceiling

Graffiti on cave ceiling

Graffiti on the cave walls

Walking over to the monuments and bridal altar

More graffiti and small stalactite

Monuments and more stalactites

Monument room in Gothic Avenue

An old newspaper from the 1920's on one of the monuments

A column in the cave

Bridal altar in the middle. Wedding ceremonies were held here

Bridal altar in Gothic Avenue

Walking back through the Monument Room

Going up the stairs, out of the cave

Exiting the cave

Turning off the oil lamps

Back at the beginning, salt mines area

Near entrance into Gothic Avenue







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